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Sanders v. Corrections Corporation of America

October 25, 2010

TERRY M. SANDERS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS MEMORANDUM DECISION REGARDING (Doc. 36)

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Terry M. Sanders ("Plaintiff") proceeds with this action for damages against Corrections Corporation of America and CCA of Tennessee, LLC ("Defendants").

On August 17, 2010 Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. (Doc. 36). Plaintiff filed opposition to the motion to dismiss on October 8, 2010, (Doc. 49), and Defendants replied on October 15, 2010, (Doc. 50).

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND.

Plaintiff's action arises out of alleged retaliation and discrimination engaged in by Defendants, his former employer. According to the complaint, Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff for taking medical leave and for refusing to provide false statements regarding the origin of an injury sustained during a football game Plaintiff participated in during work hours. A s a result of the harassment he experienced, Plaintiff filed a workers compensation claim in August 2007. Plaintiff attempted to return to work in December of 2007, but Defendants refused to provide reasonable accommodations to Plaintiff.

On or about August 21, 2008, Plaintiff's workers compensation claim was resolved, and Plaintiff contacted Defendants human resources department to discuss returning to work. Plaintiff left several messages, none of which was returned. On October 28, 2008, Defendant sent Plaintiff a letter falsely stating that Plaintiff had failed to return calls to Defendant and that he was therefore terminated for job abandonment.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate where the complaint lacks sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.1990). To sufficiently state a claim to relief and survive a 12(b) (6) motion, the pleading "does not need detailed factual allegations" but the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Mere "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. Rather, there must be "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. In other words, the "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ----, ----, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).

The Ninth Circuit has summarized the governing standard, in light of Twombly and Iqbal, as follows: "In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the nonconclusory factual content, and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir.2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). Apart from factual insufficiency, a complaint is also subject to dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) where it lacks a cognizable legal theory, Balistreri, 901 F.2d at 699, or where the allegations on their face "show that relief is barred" for some legal reason, Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215, 127 S.Ct. 910, 166 L.Ed.2d 798 (2007).

In deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss, the court must accept as true all "well-pleaded factual allegations" in the pleading under attack. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. A court is not, however, "required to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir.2001). "When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, if a district court considers evidence outside the pleadings, it must normally convert the 12(b)(6) motion into a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment, and it must give the nonmoving party an opportunity to respond." United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 907 (9th Cir.2003). "A court may, however, consider certain materials-documents attached to the complaint, documents incorporated by reference in the complaint, or matters of judicial notice-without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment." Id. at 908.

III. DISCUSSION

Defendants contend that Plaintiff lacks standing to prosecute this action because Plaintiff failed to adequately disclose the claim underlying this lawsuit in his Chapter 7 Bankruptcy petition. In a related argument, Defendants contend that Plaintiff's law suit is subject to judicial estoppel because Plaintiff ...


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